Trump May Sign Executive Order on Religious Freedom

Civil rights orgs fear order will legalize discrimination against LGBT community
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2017 6:29 PM CDT
Trump May Sign Executive Order on Religious Freedom
President Trump is expected to sign a religious liberty executive order Thursday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on religious liberty on Thursday, and civil rights groups are prepared to sue if the order resembles an earlier version leaked in February, BuzzFeed News reports. According to Politico, the leaked executive order would have basically let people, groups, and some businesses claim religious objections in pretty much any situation. Civil liberties groups say the order would have legalized discrimination against LGBT people, CNN reports. If such an executive order is signed Thursday—which a senior administration official says is "definitely possible"—it would be a big victory for Vice President Mike Pence, whose attempt at religious freedom legislation while governor of Indiana went poorly.

The ACLU and Lambda Legal say they're prepared to sue Trump in federal court if the order he signs is similar to the leaked version. The ACLU says the previous order would have violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Lambda Legal says it "will fight this with everything we have." Pence and others have been reworking the original version of the order and pressuring Trump to sign it. While sources in the administration say lawyers are still tweaking the order's language, one person who's seen it says it's pretty much unchanged from the leaked version. "The language is very, very strong," the source tells Politico. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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